Obamacare

More On That Ballooning Deficit

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With budget deficit projections set to be roughly $2 billion trillion higher than previously estimated, the Obama administration is having to defend its ambitious, costly domestic policy agenda. Here's Peter Orszag in this morning's New York Times:

"A lot of people will look at this deficit and say we cannot afford health care reform," said Peter R. Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget. But Mr. Orszag said the opposite was true: the only way to control spiraling Medicare costs, he said, was to get control of overall health care costs by overhauling the system.

"The size of the fiscal gap is precisely why we must enact fiscally well designed health care reform now," he said.

But according to the Congressional Budget Office, the House health-care bill would actually add to the deficit over the ten year window the CBO scores (this new estimate seems to include deficit expansions expected from health-care reform). And if Medicare is the real problem, and there's so much savings to be wrung out of its inefficient system, why not just reform Medicare?

Still, Orszag is undeterred:

Without offering any details, the White House budget director said that President Obama will soon unveil plans to reduce long-term deficits tied to soaring costs of Medicare, Social Security and other entitlement programs.

Color me skeptical. Why wait until now? Given that Orszag has been working obsessively on health-care cost control for years, and given that bending the cost curve downward has been a key part of that administration's health-care reform pitch all along, is it really believable that he'd wait until after the reform bills were supposed to be finalized to unveil a mysterious new deficit killer?

Yesterday, I noted expanded new deficit projections. I've also written about budgetary sparring between Orszag's Office of Management and Budget and the CBO, as well as the CBO's dire warnings about our growing deficit.

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50 responses to “More On That Ballooning Deficit

  1. With budget deficit projections set to be roughly $2 billion higher than previously estimated

    I wish! I believe you mean $2 trillion.

  2. Yeah, $2 billion doesn’t sound so bad. I think I have that in my couch cushions.

  3. A little faith folks. Obama is gonna fix it with his mad economical skilz.

  4. Sorry! Typo. Fixed it. Thanks for pointing it out, Swillfredo.

  5. Folks on medicare may not be as sharp as they once were, but they aren’t stupid. You can’t piss on their shoes and tell them it’s raining.
    Medicare costs can easily be cut…by lowering the reimbursement rate for services provided.
    Now, your doc spends two minutes with you instead of ten. You don’t think the old folks – a potent voting bloc – will notice the deterioration in service?

  6. “Without offering any details, the White House budget director said that President Obama will soon unveil plans to reduce long-term deficits tied to soaring costs of Medicare, Social Security and other entitlement programs.”

    Sure they will. During the same press conference, the president will also announce that he has cured both AIDS and Cancer, instilled lasting peace in the Middle East, and discovered the elusive Theory of Everything.

  7. I say we bind all of their hands and feet, tie them to a large rocks and toss them into a lake. We then listen to who ever surfaces.

  8. I’m watching a Wisconsin town hall meeting from the other day. I’ve been watching for almost an hour and I’ve yet to hear the word Medicare. People are mostly upset about the public option, not medicare cuts. I’m sorry for previous comments that the anger is all entitled geezers.

  9. Between TARP, the war, the existing Bush deficits and the McHopey stimulus, there just isn’t money to cover the 47 million uninsured without cutting off old people. Had Obama not done the stimulus and told Gaithner and Goldman Sachs to go fuck themselves, he would probably have gotten away with Obamacare. But he didn’t and now he is fucked. We have finally hit the point where for the first time in my lifetime deficits are actually a real political issue that people will vote on.

  10. “A lot of people will look at this deficit and say we cannot afford health care reform,” said Peter R. Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget. But Mr. Orszag said the opposite was true: the only way to control spiraling Medicare costs, he said, was to get control of overall health care costs by overhauling the system.

    “The size of the fiscal gap is precisely why we must enact fiscally well designed health care reform now,” he said.

    Right. Because the sole reason for the massive deficit is because of health care costs. Especially since the debt they’re talking about preventing is private debt right now.

  11. President Obama will soon unveil plans to reduce long-term deficits tied to soaring costs of Medicare, Social Security and other entitlement programs.

    Any or all of the following will happen long before I receive a penny in “entitlements”, but decades after I started “contributing”:

    Reduction in benefits;
    [Further] increase in retirement age;
    [Further] increase in payroll taxes;
    Means testing.

    I wonder at what point people in Washington will recognize that all of the laws intended to make people live longer are a really, really bad idea?

  12. I have never understood how liberals can claim on the one hand that 47 million people are uninsured and being denied healthcare. And on the other hand claim that the sollution medical costs that are going to eat the budget is to expand coverage to those 47 million.

  13. Lonesome George (Spanish: Solitario Jorge) is the last known individual of the Pinta Island Tortoise, subspecies Geochelone nigra abingdoni, one of eleven subspecies of Gal?pagos tortoise native to the Gal?pagos Islands.[1][2] He has been labelled the rarest creature in the world, and is a potent symbol for conservation efforts in the Gal?pagos and internationally.[3] It is thought that he was named after a character played by American actor George Gobel.

  14. It all makes sense if you just remember that the liberals are lying bastards that will say anything in order to gain more control over your lives.

    I never met a liberal that wasn’t a marxist or a communist at heart.

  15. Healthcare what? We have a budget crisis now, don’t look at healthcare. Oh we have a torture, CIA, lawsuit thingy too. Look at those.

    This administration is a master of the “look over here” Friday and Monday dump.

  16. “A lot of people will look at this deficit and say we cannot afford health care reform,” said Peter R. Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget. But Mr. Orszag said the opposite was true: the only way to control spiraling Medicare costs, he said, was to get control of overall health care costs by overhauling the system.”

    Bart Simpson: “He says there are no easy answers. I say he’s not trying hard enough.”

  17. I have never understood how liberals can claim on the one hand that 47 million people are uninsured and being denied healthcare. And on the other hand claim that the sollution medical costs that are going to eat the budget is to expand coverage to those 47 million.

    You don’t understand because you are a racist.

  18. “Medicare costs can easily be cut…by lowering the reimbursement rate for services provided. Now, your doc spends two minutes with you instead of ten. You don’t think the old folks – a potent voting bloc – will notice the deterioration in service?”

    They will notice the LACK of service; if Congress wants to lower reimburements to even lower levels, they will be hard pressed to find physicians to treat them, unless they pay out of pocket.

    Or physicians are impressed into service.

    I’ve already stated on earlier threads what I will do if that happens.

    For your consumption…

    http://www.doctorsonstrike.com/

  19. “Or physicians are impressed into service.”

    Give Obama a year and we will be talking about the Doctors’ Plot.

  20. “I can’t afford not to buy that new Maybach!”

  21. You all are just racists.

  22. Physicians can be impressed into service with a military draft.

  23. All of you who don’t think I can cut health care costs are forgetting that I can heal the sick by touching their sores.

  24. I say we bind all of their hands and feet, tie them to a large rocks and toss them into a lake. We then listen to* who ever surfaces.

    *”Burn at the stake” is what I think you meant to say.

  25. There are a few simple ways to cut spending without affecting service but the politicians are too corrupt (or boneless, or stupid, or just don’t care) to implement them. Why does the government have to pay full price for prescription drugs? They know the answer but it would require them to not be political to change the law so it’ll never happen.

  26. Very true Michael; however, being impressed into a social medicine coup (I severely doubt the National Guard would be called to mow down pissed off seniors) is an entirely different situation than military impression either overseas or domestically.

    Neither is a pleasant thought.

  27. is an entirely different situation than military impression either overseas or domestically.

    The courts will never strike down a draft of anyone for fear of setting a bad precedent. They could draft us all and create a 300 million person army w/ us all under military discipline w/o complaints from the courts.

  28. And let’s not give Dear Leader and his ilk any more ideas to consider, shall we?

  29. Color me skeptical.

    You people just can’t keep from getting your subtle little racial digs in there, can you?

  30. “The courts will never strike down a draft of anyone for fear of setting a bad precedent. They could draft us all and create a 300 million person army w/ us all under military discipline w/o complaints from the courts.”

    I do not and would never, absent real national emergency like invasion from outer space, support a draft. But, it would be funny as hell watching Obama subject his under 25 supporters to the draft. The shocked looks and the torn hope posters would be priceless.

  31. Hmmm, perhaps I should brush up on my Mandarin then. Sounds remarkably Mao’ish.

  32. Peter Orszag is just about six kinds of an ass.

  33. I never met a liberal that wasn’t a Marxist or a communist at heart.

    I probably have as much loathing for socialists as any guy you’ll meet, but this isn’t really fair.

    The fact that Obama has to tell such blatant lies about his agenda and that the Dems can’t ram through a public option even with their huge majorities because of the Blue Dogs proves that it isn’t the case.

    There are still lots of reasonably moderate liberal Democrats out there, but in the last several years or so the radicals have unfortunately become the controlling force in the party.

  34. Here’s my interpretation of Orszag’s ramblings:

    “We need to expand government to address the problems of expanding government. If it’s confusing, it’s because you’re dumb, because you’re dumb people.”

  35. A national emergency, I’m will serve willingly. Especially responding to a foreign or domestic enemy. I would loathe to ever see that domestic enemy being enraged rent-seekers.

    Or my own goverment.

  36. Correction: “I would serve willingly…”

  37. Maybe Obama will have his own Bonus Army.

  38. i say we spend too much on the military. We need to invade and pacify N. Korea, Iran, Russia, and China so that we can finally cut the military budget!

  39. There are a few simple ways to cut spending without affecting service but the politicians are too corrupt (or boneless, or stupid, or just don’t care) to implement them. Why does the government have to pay full price for prescription drugs? They know the answer but it would require them to not be political to change the law so it’ll never happen.

    Only if you count not discovering any new drugs in the future as “not affecting service.” While I’d like Medicare et al. to exist in the future, since I keep paying into it, I’d like even more for continued medical discoveries to occur in the future.

  40. “The size of the fiscal gap is precisely why we must enact
    fiscally well designed health care reform now”

    Health care “reform” will keep us out of ruinous wars, prevent stupid pork projects and defuse the Social Security time bomb? Wow. That’s one magic reform bill.

  41. I think Robert Nesbit is correct about American Militarism in his book, “Twilight of Authority.” It’s virtually outlandish to say something along the lines of, “The Dept of Defense should be re-named the Dept. of war and it should be non-existant in times of peace. The Army, Marine Corp should be shrank to a skeleton of themselves, the Air Force as well. The Navy should be allowed to patrol only our shores. ” You can’t even get all the troops home from Germany and Japan lol.

  42. That’s one magic reform bill.

    The versions floating around are 1000+ unintelligible pages that nobody’s read, so you never know!

  43. You are all stupid,
    We are all wise,
    All we say is truth,
    All you speak is lies.

    We don’t know any econ,
    And frankly don’t want to,
    It sounds too much like “neocon”
    Eww, ewww, ewww, ewwwww!

    So enjoy our fine trolling,
    And please keep in mind,
    That’s how we be rolling,
    Koolaid suits us just fine.

    Don’t try to confound and confuse us with facts,
    When there’s a problem, government acts!
    And then the rainbows can shine and the unicorns play,
    ….why are you shaking your head in that way?

    Oh, money is evil and bureaucrats good,
    Government always does just what it should!
    Now if you’d only stop arguing you would soon see,
    The bliss of a world where eveything’s free!

    Socialism, socialism
    It’s not a dirty word
    Socialism, socialism
    We’ll polish up this turd!

    The Post Office is good,
    The Post Office is great!
    So what if the mail,
    Is expensive and late?

    You see, foolish people
    They get honorable mention
    For being all union
    With generous pension.

    Now you’ll say this is costly,
    But we disagree,
    The taxpayers fund it,
    Not you and me!

    So you must acquiesce
    As our logic is crushing
    Don’t mind that brown mess
    The toilet’s stopped flushing.

  44. Whoever you are, that was brilliant.

  45. I agree, that was indeed brilliant

  46. I think his approval ratings have gone down because he promised us change, and all we got is change…(coins-leftovers). Terrible!!! Now, that’s all we are left with..some pocket change.

  47. That damn Bush. The government needs to sell some Oxys to Limbaugh to make up the deficit. In closing, Glenn Beck is obviously a racist.

  48. “The size of the fiscal gap is precisely why we must enact fiscally well designed health care reform now”

    Seriously, is there anyone in the entire United States that actually believes such bullshit? If so, I have a Unicorn farm tended by leprechauns for sale in the Everglades that can be reached via the Brooklyn Bridge, which I also have for sale.

  49. Groovus Maximus,

    (I severely doubt the National Guard would be called to mow down pissed off seniors)

    Not sure you realized it but there’s an absolutely brilliant concept here.

    An army of pissed off seniors who were carrying their little grand kids with them, would be utterly invincible.

    At least here in the Western world. Other places, I’m not sure they’d do so well.

  50. Inaction cost, $9trillion over the next decade, can not be compared to the balance between estimate and outcome in a worst case of scenario. Time does not fix endless greed and energy depletion.

    When the public health is also one of commodity like a house, we come to a tragic and unthinkable conclusion : As to for-profit business, the more and longer ill patients get, the more profits they make, and it will debilitate the overall economy involving education for the future, not to mention continued bankruptcy of middle class.

    Of young adults ages 19 to 29, 13.2 million, or 29 percent, lacked coverage in 2007, and that implies the total of this promising reform will be cheaper than expected, I guess.

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